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Pain in scapula, numbness in finger, discomfort in upper back. What can I do to make it better?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 9094 Questions
A little background.
I am 38 in good health, active in sports.
I play soccer twice a week and have picked up grappling(jiu jitsu) about a year ago.
I recently injured my knee playing soccer(about a week ago) but my question is not about that, i am taking care of it...
Last couple of days I have had some pain in left scapular(i also injured left knee) and have some numbness in pinky finger(left) and somewhat in lower side of the arm, seems like C8 nerve is either pinched where scapular is or something...
I have been doing grappling pretty intensely for almost a year and I do feel discomfort in upper back every now and then but with people pulling on you and sitting on top of you I expect discomfort.
And maybe I did feel some pain in left scapular before and probably just ignored it but finger being numb, that definitely wasn't happening.
I have been walking and limping for the past week with left knee being bad and maybe my worsened walking posture is contributing to scapular pain?
I think when i lie down my scapular pain is better and my numbness is not that bad but it is there most of the time.
What can I do to make it better? My sense is that I did do too much grappling and didn't give myself enough time to rest and walking off balance just adds to scapular pain but I may be wrong.
I am seeing knee doctor thursday(to review MRI results), is he the same one to address scapular and possible C8 nerve?

Posted Tue, 18 Sep 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 4 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
The pain in the left scapular region that you are having could be related to a muscle strain or spasm due to grappling. The numbness in the little finger is likely to be due to a minor nerve compression at the level of cervical spine or axilla.
An injury to the soft tissue structures around the shoulder joint also needs to be ruled out after investigations like MRI.
The pain in your knee is not likely to be related to the scapular pain you are having.
You symptoms will be relieved by a combination of mild pain killer and a muscle relaxant in appropriate doses. Doing a hot fomentation will also be helpful.
You can ask your knee doctor to examine the shoulder too and prescribe you the necessary drugs.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Pain in scapula, numbness in finger, discomfort in upper back. What can I do to make it better? 12 hours later
Thanks for you reply.
So, if I understand correctly, the issues that I am having with scapular should resolve by themselves? Can I do exercises? or any sport activities?
I also understand that knee injury is not related but since i walk out of balance now, I feel it is maybe contributing to scapular issue but I may be wrong.
When I see my knee doctor tomorrow I will ask about scapular.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 10 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
The scapular pain will resolve if it is due to a muscle sprain. Taking muscle relaxants will help in an early recovery. Avoid doing exercises till the acute pain subsides.
Initial warming up is necessary before any sports activity.
You can do shoulder muscle exercises under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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